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org l 1 – Iran has the right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes e Iran was one of the first of 190 countries to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT, the principle U.N agreement intended to stop the spread of nuclear weapons (1). The NPT clearly states that all parties to the treaty have an a “inalienable right” to develop, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes (2). r Further, the treaty states that, where possible, countries signing the treaty should help other parties develop nuclear energy
for peaceful purposes, especially states that do not possess nuclear weapons, and states in developing areas (3). 2 - There is no proof that Iran is developing nuclear weapons
w e Western leaders a quote IAEA stating it has not confirmed the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear materials (6). This often is the same statement IAEA routinely makes for dozens of NPT countries that have not ratified the voluntary Additional Protocol. The U.S. and its allies are demanding that only Iran must prove it is not developing nuclear weapons (7), but p that's a logical impossibility, similar to when the U.S demanded Iraq prove it was not developing weapons of mass destruction. Nothing Iraq said or did could stop the 2003 bloody invasion of that country – after which the U.S. had to o admit that its charges were false. Iraq, like Iran today, was guilty without possibility of being proven innocent. n Further, if Iran intended to develop nuclear weapons, it could have withdrawn from the NPT, as it is entitled to, and thus would no longer be subject to IAEA inspections. But it has so far not done so, despite receiving very little of the benefits to which it is entitled under the NPT. The continuous barrage of false accusations and demonization by Western and Israeli s leaders, amplified by Western media, serves to prepare the public for more sanctions and a possible military confrontation.
Despite the insistence by successive U.S. administrations that Iran's nuclear energy program is a cover for developing nuclear weapons, there is absolutely no proof to back up this charge (4). Thousands of hours of U.N. inspections have not produced one shred of evidence of a nuclear weapons program considered credible by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations' nuclear watch-dog agency (5). The same blueprint was followed with respect to Iraq in the years leading up to the most recent U.S.-led invasion. 3 - Iran’s need for energy is real
u n h o While it actually spends more money on developing wind and solar power, Iran has significant deposits of uranium and is working to develop nuclear power plants. Ironically, it was the administration of President Gerald Ford, in the 1970s, that l convinced Iran to pursue nuclear energy as a sustainable alternative to hydrocarbon based production (9). It has been the three decades of U.S.-imposed sanctions that have been partly responsible for Iran's reaching its present level of uranium enrichment. y ,
Iran has oil, but not the infrastructure needed to meet its domestic demand for refined products (8). Its dependency on Western-dominated global markets, as well as the refining and importation of petroleum products make Iran vulnerable to foreign economic warfare. Iran has the largest fleet of oil tankers in the Middle East (8), but these ships are easy targets for attack or sabotage. It is in Iran’s security interest to develop alternatives to oil for internal energy use. With global oil supplies shrinking while increasing in price, it is in Iran’s economic interest to reduce its own domestic dependency on oil and so free up more for export.
4 - Iran is not a threat to the U.S. or Israel In order to justify depriving Iran of its right to develop nuclear energy, many U.S. and Israeli political figures portray the Iranian leadership as a bunch of irrational fanatics hell-bent on using nuclear weapons as soon as they can develop them. The truth is that Iran hasn't attacked another country in more than 200 years. The clerical leadership has repeatedly denounced the use of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction as un-Islamic, because they kill the innocent (10). During its 8-year war with Western-backed Saddam Hussein, Iran itself was the victim of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (11), but Iranians take great pride in not having retaliated in kind. In order to show good will concerning its nuclear energy program, Iran’s previous reformist government temporarily suspended its entire nuclear enrichment program and, in December 2003, signed and implemented the IAEA's voluntary Additional Protocol that provides for more intrusive inspections than those required under the NPT (12). However, Iran received no similar gestures in return and has since resumed its enrichment program and dropped its Additional Protocol cooperation. It's no secret that Iran is opposed to Israeli policies, but, despite constant references to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad supposedly calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map,” no Iranian leader has ever called for the physical destruction of the Israeli state (13). On the other hand, both the U.S. and Israel have vastly superior military capabilities, including massive nuclear arsenals that could instantly annihilate all of Iran. The U.S. has military bases in most countries bordering Iran and has Naval forces constantly patrolling in the Persian Gulf. 5 - Iran is under constant threat of foreign intervention All leading U.S. politicians, including President Obama, have stated that, in dealing with Iran, “all options are on the table,” which means everything up to and including a nuclear attack (14). U.S. and Israeli officials have threatened to conduct a military attack on Iran, targeting its nuclear facilities (15). The U.S. has funded anti-government terrorist groups both in and outside Iran (16) and has itself engaged in kidnapping and sabotage operations inside Iran in direct violation of that country's sovereignty (17). In addition, the U.S. government annually spends millions in public funds in anti-government propaganda operations directed at Iranians (17)(19). All these are violations of the U.N Charter, which calls for respect of national sovereignty and forbids member countries from threatening or using force against other countries (18). 6 - The 2009 Iranian presidential election and its aftermath are being exploited by pro-war forces Many Western commentators point to the disputed 2009 Iranian elections and claim that, since there is a domestic opposition to the Iranian government, Iranians would support foreign intervention or regime change effort. This is false and disingenuous. No significant opposition figure has ever asked for any kind of war, sanctions or even monetary help from outside the country. While the idea of “targeted” sanctions has some currency among a minority of exile-based Iranians, it is by no means supported by Iranians in general. There were reports of similar “support” for pressure and for “smart” sanctions against Iraq by exiles like Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress, reports that were cynically cultivated by the neoconservatives in order to justify their drive toward war. 7 - The Obama administration has backtracked on its own engagement policy and now actively opposes peaceful solutions Barack Obama's presidential campaign included promises to move U.S. policy away from confrontation with Iran and toward “direct and unconditional negotiations”. Disappointingly, the Obama White House has backed away from that earlier position. Its current policy is virtually the same as that of the Bush/Cheney administration: before there can be any negotiations, Iran must first give up its nuclear enrichment program.
For example, before the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Iran received U.S. assistance under the Atoms for Peace program to build a nuclear research reactor in Tehran (20). For more than 30 years the TRR has produced medical isotopes for the treatment of some 800,000 cancer patients. That research reactor is now running out of fuel. In the fall of 2009, the U.S. proposed that Iran swap, in a third country, 1,200 kilograms (2,646 pounds) of its low-enriched uranium (LED) for the higher-enriched uranium needed to fuel the TRR. Iran accepted this offer, in principle, but demanded guarantees to ensure it would actually receive the needed fuel. The Obama administration walked away from the table, adopting a “take it or leave it” position (21). On May 17, 2010, Turkey, Brazil and Iran signed a third-country swap agreement that was the same deal earlier offered by the U.S., except for a clause that provided for the return of Iran’s LED in the event the enriched fuel was not delivered within a year. Even though evidence has surfaced that President Obama himself encouraged the Brazil/Turkey efforts, (22) he has now rejected this agreement, reprimanding both allied countries and pushing for new sanctions. 8 - The sanctions policy is deeply flawed, as well as counter-productive The stated goal of what are now three separate sets of U.N.-imposed sanctions, as well as more than 30 years of unilateral sanctions imposed by the U.S., is to pressure Iran's government to abandon its uranium enrichment program. In reality, the sanctions are meant to promote “regime change” by creating popular discontent in the hope that the Iranian people will rise up and topple their government. Consistent with this policy, sanctions are meant to have a direct and painful impact on the population. U.S. and Israeli hawks often claim that sanctions are directed only at the “regime,” but, as numerous analysts have shown, the effects are primarily felt by ordinary Iranians (23). This policy is not only criminal, but also flawed. People rarely engage in anti-government activity when their countries are threatened, as shown by the examples of both Cuba and Iraq, as well as the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. With Iraq in particular, sanctions resulted in a genocidal level of civilian casualties, but still did not produce the intended results (24). No matter how devastating a new sanctions might look on paper, they cannot possibly match the severity of the 1980s Western-backed Iraq war and economic sanctions that Iranians endured without risk to the political establishment. 9 - Sanctions are a gateway to war Sanctions are not only a form of warfare, they can lead to actual war. The only way to make sanctions viable would be to impose a total military blockade of all Iranian trade and forcefully intercept Iranian shipping. By any definition, that would be a declaration of war. In retrospect, many Iraqis now see the sanctions of the 1990s not simply as “pressure” designed to force Iraq to end its non-existent WMD program, but as a cynical ploy to physically disrupt and weaken Iraq for an eventual military action. Those sanctions did succeed – costing of the lives of 1.5 million civilians, including at least a half-million children (25). It is unlikely that U.S. and Israeli advocates of sanctions are not aware of the clear and direct risk of war. Indeed, some of the most vocal advocates for sanctions are the same ones who promoted the Iraq War. 10 - A military strike on Iran would be illegal, with dire consequences A U.S. or Israeli military strike on Iran would be a direct violation of the U.N. Charter, which forbids an unprovoked attack on another country. Further, the Iranian government has vowed to respond to any attack with full force. Many analysts warn of a quick chainreaction that could lead to a devastating regional war, from Afghanistan to Gaza, as Iran and its regional allies retaliate against the U.S., Israel and allied governments, requiring a U.S. commitment of significant resources and military engagement for decades to come.
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs - http://www.un.org/disarmament/WMD/Nuclear/NPT.shtml NPT Article IV, Section 1 - http://www.un.org/disarmament/WMD/Nuclear/pdf/NPTEnglish_Text.pdf NPT Article IV, Section 2 - http://www.un.org/disarmament/WMD/Nuclear/pdf/NPTEnglish_Text.pdf IAEA chief El Baradei, quoted "I don't think Iran is developing, or we have new information that Iran is developing, a nuclear weapon today," BBC, April 9, 2010 - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8611864.stm IAEA chief El Baradei, “'No credible evidence' of Iranian nuclear weapons, says UN inspector”, Guardian September 30, 2009 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/30/iranian-nuclear-weapons-mohamed-elbaradei The May 31, 2010 IAEA report on Iran says: "While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, Iran has not provided the necessary cooperation to permit the Agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities." [parag. 46] - http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2010/gov2010-10.pdf Regarding the phrase “lran has not provided the necessary cooperation”, IAEA is referring to “Alleged Studies” documents received from Western intelligence agencies purporting to show studies of nuclear weapon systems. But the authenticity of many of these documents has been challenged and the documents themselves are not provided to Iran for review and response. Even the IAEA does not possess them, as it stated in its 2008 report: "Concerning the documents purporting to show administrative interconnections between the alleged green salt project and a project to modify the Shahab-3 missile to carry a nuclear warhead, Iran stated that, since some of the documents were not shown to it by the Agency, it could not make an assessment of them. Although the Agency had been shown the documents that led it to these conclusions, it was not in possession of the documents and was therefore unfortunately unable to make them available to Iran." [IAEA, June 5, 2008, parag. 21] - http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2008/gov2008-15.pdf See also - http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/KJ08Ak05.html (7) (8) (9) (10) White House: Iran must prove it is not developing nukes”, Haaretz, September 29, 2009 - http://www.haaretz.com/news/white-houseiran-must-prove-it-is-not-developing-nukes-1.7033 US Energy information administration, January 2010 - http://www.eia.doe.gov/cabs/Iran/Oil.html “Past Arguments Don't Square With Current Iran Policy” - Washington Post, March 27, 2005 - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/articles/A3983-2005Mar26.html “Nuclear weapons unholy, Iran says; Islam forbids use, clerics proclaim” - San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 31, 2003 http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/10/31/MNGHJ2NFRE1.DTL&hw=Khamenei+fatwa&sn=001&sc=1000 Statement issued by the Islamic Republic of Iran, Aug. 9, 2005 - http://www.mathaba.net/0_index.shtml?x=302258 “Chemical Warfare In The Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988” - SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) Fact Sheet, May 1984 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) News Center, Oct. 21, 2003 http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Focus/IaeaIran/statement_iran21102003.shtml Informed Comment, by Juan Cole – translation of Ahmadinejad's remarks - http://www.juancole.com/2006/05/hitchens-hacker-andhitchens.html “Iran denies wanting to 'wipe Israel off the map'" – Reuters, 2/21/06 - http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/200602/21/content_522405.htm President George W. Bush – Aug. 12, 2005 - http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-08-13-bush-iran-nuclear_x.htm Vice-President Dick Cheney, Feb. 24, 2007 - http://www.craig-barnes.com/speeches/2007/03012008.html Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain, Aug. 14, 2005 - http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,165666,00.html Presidential candidate Barack Obama, February 2007 – http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/02/11/60minutes/main2458530_page3.shtml Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, February, 2007 – http://www.nysun.com/national/clinton-praises-bloombergs-focus-on-environmental/53960 Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards, Jan. 22, 2007 – http://www.herzliyaconference.org/Eng/_Articles/Article.asp?ArticleID=1728&CategoryID=223 “New U.S. Nuclear Policy Sends 'Strong Message' To Iran, North Korea, Officials Say” - ABC World News, April 6, 2010 http://abcnews.go.com/WN/Politics/us-nuclear-policy-sends-strong-message-iran-north/story?id=10298475 “Israel threatens to attack Iran unless enrichment stops: minister” – Reuters, June 6, 2008 http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL0625195820080606 “Preparing the battlefield” - The New Yorker, July 7, 2008 - http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/07/07/080707fa_fact_hersh “US funds terror groups to sow chaos in Iran” - Telegraph, Feb. 25, 2007 - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1543798/USfunds-terror-groups-to-sow-chaos-in-Iran.html “The Coming Wars” - The New Yorker, Jan. 24, 2005 - http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/01/24/050124fa_fact U.N. Charter, Chapter 1, Article 2.4 - http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter1.shtml “Bush plans huge propaganda campaign in Iran” - Guardian, Feb. 16, 2006 - http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2006/feb/16/usnews.iran “It was Uncle Sam who first gave Iran nuclear equipment” - Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 2, 2009 http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2009/1002/p04s01-usfp.html “Iran rejects sending uranium abroad” - Reuters, Nov. 18, 2009 - http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5AH2H820091118 “U.S., Brazilian officials at odds over letter on Iranian uranium” - Washington Post, May 28, 2010 - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2010/05/27/AR2010052705151.html “U.N. Sanctions will hurt ordinary Iranians, says Mousavi” - Telegraph, May 23, 2010 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/7756576/UN-sanctions-will-hurt-ordinary-Iranians-says-Mousavi.html “The debate over U.N. sanctions” - Frontline (PBS), November, 2002 - http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/iraq/sanctions.html Discussing the Iraq sanctions on May 12, 1996 on the CBS program “60 Minutes,” interviewer Lesley Stahl asked U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, “We have heard that a half-million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” Albright replied: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it.”
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